Holland & Knight announces Mike Hightower officially joining firm

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As we’ve been predicting for nearly a month, veteran lobbyist Mike Hightower is joining Holland & Knight’s governmental affairs team.

Hightower resigned as chair of the Jacksonville Electric and Water and Sewer Authority Friday.

“It has been my honor and pleasure to serve JEA nearly sixteen years, twice as chair, appointed by mayors (John) Delaney and Peyton,” he said in a Friday resignation letter to Mayor Alvin Brown. “We have seen JEA, the eighth largest municipally owned utility in the nation, grow and professionalize to meet electric, water and sewer requirements of an expanding North Florida region.”

Hightower had served as JEA chair for two years. His resignation was effective 3:p.m. Friday.

“Mike is a longtime friend with a considerable amount of industry knowledge and professional working relationships in both Florida and Washington, D. C.,” said Bob Martinez, H&K’s lobbying team co-leader. “He will be an excellent asset to Holland & Knight going into the next legislative session and beyond.”

Hightower has served as vice president of government and legislative relations for Florida Blue. Martinez said he will advise the firm’s clients in their government relations strategies on healthcare and insurance policies. He is a former chair of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Naval Academy Board of Visitors.

Hightower is well-known in political circles having worked as campaign finance chair for hundreds of campaigns since 1972. This year he served as the state finance for Attorney General Pam Bondi and on Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign finance committee. Hightower also served as chair of the Duval County Republican Party from 2003 to 2007.

In 2007, Hightower won the Tallahassee lobbying corp’s Outstanding Lobbyist Award.

At Holland & Knight, Hightower joins a lobbying team that, in addition to former Gov. Martinez, includes former congressmen Jim Davis and Ron Klein; former state Rep. Miguel De Grandy and Kerry Feehery, former chief of staff to U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, and Mark Delegal.